Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 Sleeper Picks Revisited

The 2012 regular season is behind us, and it is time to look back and see what fools we were.  Baseball has a way of making fools; this is precisely why so many fools are continually allowed to make a living writing and talking about the game, regardless of how unforgivable their sins.  Leading up to Opening Day 2012, Dizzy and I made a few hair-brained sleeper picks, that is, players previously not thought too much about who were poised to shake the foundations of greatness in the game.  We poured through the statistics, ignored the pundits on television, read the last page of The Book, and sought out the Old Man on the Hill, whose name changes with each season, all in hopes of securing some foresight into the coming season.  After fours day of search, and two pairs each of shoes (they don't make 'em like they used to), we found him, boarded up in the attic room of a dilapidated cabin, peering out through one of those rounded windows that opens on a swivel.  He used to rock back and forth on the porch stoop of the town's general store, smoking black cheroots and flicking pennies at children until the arthritis gobbled up his joints, putting an end to his trips to town.  Legend says he won his fortune on a preseason bet on the 1969 Mets and paid for a hip-replacement picking the 2006 Cardinals.  The man just intuits things.

But upon our meeting the man presently named Cid, it became apparent that arthritis was not the only aflliction plaguing the old man, for his years had obviously taken their toll on his brain.  Words slithered from his cracked lips, dropping to the wooden floor in their pools of drool.   Foolish words about Baltimore and a rookie staff in Oakland and a 20-year dominating baseball and the reemergence of the knuckleball.  We nodded, choked down his cheroots, and lumbered down the hill.  We played a what-if game on the ride back and came up with our own conclusions.  Here is how we did.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Goodbye, Pedro Borbon


"Now pinch-hitting for Pedro Borbon..."

An integral member of the Big Red Machine, perhaps the greatest ballclub every assembled, has died for the second and final time.  No pitcher made more appearances from 1970-1978, an accomplishment even more impressive in light of how the game has evolved.  A rock in the bullpen, Borbon gave the Redlegs the necessary stability to win three pennants.  Pedro Borbon was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (one of the finest in baseball) in 2010.  His death, while unfortunate as all deaths are, gives Reds' fans and baseball fans alike an opportunity to remember the accomplishments of a great career in our greatest game.  Borbon's numbers will never be erased, and better yet, he lives forever in more memories than most can dare to dream.

Friday, May 18, 2012

So Long, Mr. Wood. It's Been Fun.

Kerry Wood was a good Cub.  His many years and accomplishments will be remembered fondly by all Cubs fans and baseball fans in general.  Baseball players, as we know, die twice.  The first when the game passes them by, the last when life does.  He performed admirably in his baseball life, and millions of fans thank him for it.  May the continuance of his real life play out as grand.  

If you wish to read more of this Cub fan's appreciation for Wood, check out this previous post.

Friday, May 4, 2012

"Speed Provides the One Genuinely Modern Pleasure."

It's that damn Hamilton! He's so hot right now!
The legend of Billy Hamilton is growing.  He is off to an insane start this season, swiping bags at a record pace for the Bakersfield Blaze.  Tales of his speed on the basepaths have been spoken about in hushed tones since the Reds drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2009 amateur draft.  Hamilton was a three-sport star athlete in high school, playing baseball, basketball and football.  He turned down a scholarship to play wide receiver at Mississippi State, deciding to give his attention to the better sport, with  a little help from a $600K signing bonus.  After getting his feet wet in the Gulf Coast League (low level rookie league) at age 18, he had a solid year in advanced rookie ball in Billings, Montana (.318/.383/.456 with 48 SB in 64 games).  But it was last year that Hamilton really began to turn heads when he stole 103 bases in 135 games at low A Dayton.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Braves are Really Good

One month of the season in the books, and some things are unfolding as expected.  And of course, most are not.  The Rangers are winning at a rate that far exceeds their capabilities.  The Angels are losing as a similar pace.  The AL East is backwards.  The pot stirrers on ESPN are already attempting to blow hot air against the sails that currently buoy the Orioles atop the standings.  My memory ain't so good, but I do have recollections of very bad teams starting out the season strong, only to have their lack of depth and consistency expose them for the cellar dwellers that they are by the end of May.  The Tigers are mediocre at the moment.  The Cardinals are playing great baseball sans Pujols and La Russa and Duncan.  The Dodgers are just plain silly.  The Cubs are providing the stability that enables us all to stay rooted at this early juncture of the season.  But what surprises me, despite how unsurprising it is, would have to be the success of the Atlanta Braves.  I thought they would be good,  but they may just be better than we all thought.